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Progress praised, State road projects zip along

Progress praised, State road projects zip along

Tulsa World

By World's Editorial Writers

Published: 1/20/2010 2:22 AM
Last Modified: 1/20/2010 4:45 AM

Congress might not reach a consensus anytime soon on health care reform, but Monday's bipartisan hug-fest here at a major highway project suggests maybe a consensus on more federal stimulus funding for transportation is a possibility.

Let's hope that's the case.

Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, met with U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin and Mayor Dewey Bartlett, both Republicans, on Monday to observe work on the Inner Dispersal Loop in Tulsa. Oberstar and Fallin later went to Oklahoma City to see major construction projects there.

"Oklahoma is No. 7 in the nation in allocating its funds, projects under contract and projects under way and jobs in the field," Oberstar said, calling that "an extraordinary accomplishment."

About $75 million in federal stimulus funding is paying for the IDL reconstruction. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation received a total of about $465 million, 90 percent of which is already obligated or spent.

There are several reasons why Oklahoma has rushed forward so quickly with the spending. The need here is so great that a huge backlog of projects was already waiting in the pipeline. Fallin noted that the state faces a backlog of $11 billion in infrastructure needs, which include some of the worst bridges in the nation... FULL ARTICLE

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